Boston Celtics: German big man Daniel Theis impressive in debut

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Daniel Theis
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 2: Daniel Theis /

The Boston Celtics may have found a find in German big man Daniel Theis.  The rookie was impressive in his NBA debut Monday night.

The most under the radar signing in the off season might be German big man Daniel Theis.  The unknown Boston Celtics rookie quickly turned into a fan favorite after an impressive performance in the team’s 94-82 victory over the Charlotte Hornets in their preseason opener.

Providing energy and athleticism, Theis sparked the Celtics bench with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting and seven rebounds in just 14 minutes.  He quickly showed why he was a star in the Euroleague with a quick two-handed dunk off a pick-and-roll play with Shane Larkin.

Later in the game, he showed off his range with a jumper and a three pointer.  While it’s just the first preseason game, the big man impressed head coach Brad Stevens who praised his quickness and aggressiveness in his NBA debut.

"“I thought he did really good,” Stevens said following the game, via  “He was quick to the rim, and we needed that.  Getting behind on rolls, got his hands on a couple of balls and kept them alive, had the tip dunk at the end of the quarter off the roll, and that’s what he does best.  He can shoot the ball, he can play in space, but he’s very quick to the rim.”More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win"

A stretch big

In watching Daniel Theis, I guess he could be described as a combination between Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko.  Not only does he provide the range Stevens like to spread the floor, he is active around the basket which is something the team lacked a season ago.

Again, it is just the first preseason game.  But, what he did on Monday night will earn him more time on the court as the preseason rolls along.

As for Theis, he recognized how quick the NBA game is from the European game. That was the biggest adjustment he has had to make, which makes his performance even more impressive.

"“I’m shooting the ball after the first pass or the second pass,” Theis said.  It’s so quick.  In Europe, it’s more like play the system to the end when the shot clock is running down.  Here it’s a little faster, but I’ll get used to it.”"

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Although nervous in his Celtics debut, he also said he had fun.  If how he played in those 14 minutes is any indication, it will be fun watching him play throughout the season.